Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Tales of Tala: Arabic translation book launch in Ramallah

By Eli Lillis - September 27, 2018
Section: [Main News] [Culture]
Tags: [culture] [refugees]

Palestinian- Canadian Author Chaker Khazaal toured the Arabic translation release of his book, Tales of Tala, at Living Cultures in Ramallah on September 20.

The book was released in English one year ago, and this year became an Amazon Best Seller.
Khazaal began the book tour in Tarshiha - his grandfather’s home town now in north Israel - and is touring for two months throughout the Arab world to promote the translated version.
Chaker Khazaal grew up a Palestinian refugee in a camp in Beirut, before eventually immigrating to Canada.
He has since conducted interviews and research throughout several refugee camps in Europe and the Middle East, and this investigation was used as the basis and inspiration for the book.
'Palestinian refugees [have been] forgotten about for 70 years and we are not delivering the message in the proper way. And I’m calling in a change for that. I’m calling for younger people, more liberal, open to new ideas and suggestions,'  Khazaal addressed the audience at his Arabic language book launch.
Khazaal explained how he sees the translations as a success, despite some difficulties.
“I wrote it in English, but the spirit was still kept in this translation,” Khazaal said.
However, the tour has not been without its controversy, as the book describes the life of a Palestinian refugee sex-worker.

“I’m bringing a Palestinian prostitute to the literary world… of course some people are going to have an offence towards that. It’s understandable,” Khazaal said.

This difference in culture also affected the writing in a technical sense.
“The Arabic language comes from the Arabic culture, and the Arabic culture is a conservative culture,” Khazaal said, explaining the literary restrictions imposed when writing in Arabic.
“Writing about a prostitute, writing about the sex industry… There weren’t as many linguistic choices as there was in English.”

During a question and answer session at the book launch, a fiery debate took place.
Despite maintaining a thoughtful and passionate position on politics during this discussion, Khazaal denied his book being overly political.
Chaker Khazaal has been ranked first by Arabian Business Magazine in the 100 Most Powerful Arabs Under 40.

“My book isn’t a political statement, it’s a human statement,” Khazaal said.
“I care more about people falling in love in Ramallah or Bourj El Barajneh refugee camp in Lebanon more than who is president.”
Disappointments in politics during his lifetime have contributed to this outlook.
“I’m a millennial, I really don’t care about the politics of this region because politics has failed me, I’ve seen agreements like the Oslo agreement being signed and really torture my own people,” Khaazal said.
“So I don’t want to play politics. I love humans, I love human stories, and I love love.”
Lead image: Chaker Khazaal spent more than 30 minutes signing books under a flurry of fanfare.

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